Seattle Storm will ride out arena renovation with their city
Key Arena is poised to be Seattle's home for pro-basketball for another 10 years. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to renew its facility contract with the Seattle Storm to ensure the team has a home if Key Arena is renovated.
It's the Storm's 17th season playing at Key Arena, of the team’s 18 overall seasons. In that time, they’ve twice brought home the WNBA Championship title.
While public discussion about Key Arena has revolved around whether a renovation would attract a men's pro team, city lawmakers also need to address what to do with stadium's current tenants if the building is overhauled.
City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw spoke in favor of the contract at a recent committee meeting.
Bagshaw: "We want the Sonics to come back, but we have a world champion basketball team here, not [champions] once but twice. And I want to acknowledge that — and I've seen your players out in parks working with kids — and just acknowledge the work you do that sometimes is not only understated but underappreciated."
Under the contract, the city will pay relocation costs if the Storm has to move during arena construction and will pay the team up to $260,000 for each season they host playoff games outside Key Arena. The Storm will continue playing at Key Arena before and after any renovation.
Ginny Gilder is one of three co-owners of the Seattle Storm. She spoke with the City Council about the contract in a public meeting this May.
Gilder: "To get to be partners with a city that is as committed to progressive values and walking its talk, there is nothing that makes us feel more proud or honored."
For the Storm's part, the team will keep providing some low-cost tickets and free passes for nonprofits each game.
The contract secures the city's relationship with the Storm from 2018-2028.
The Storm's current season runs through September.
Update 05/30/2017: Story updated to reflect that the Seattle City Council approved the contract